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The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  890 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In this extensively revised and enlarged edition of his best-selling book, David Suzuki reflects on the increasingly radical changes in nature and science — from global warming to the science behind mother/baby interactions — and examines what they mean for humankind’s place in the world. The book begins by presenting the concept of people as creatures of the Earth who dep ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 28th 2007 by Greystone Books (first published 1997)
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Joseph Mckenna
Nov 30, 2011 Joseph Mckenna rated it liked it
I will preface this statement by stating that I would want David Suzuki as a neighbor, and that his hopes and dreams are very similar to my own in many respects. However, I am left with an overall feeling of disappointment in his canonical work. There is no paradigm shift, no revolution in thought, only his lingering feeling of nostalgia for paradise lost and token suggestions to slightly modify our own behavior.

The Sacred Balance of the earth will not be achieved with individual's considering p
Jan 13, 2012 Nutkin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed reading The Sacred Balance, it didn't really grab me because it was like having someone preach to the choir. I already identify with a lot of the ideas in this book about needing to refocus as a society on what is really important, how to reinvigorate communities and how to recognize that we are as much a part of the environment as is a tree. I was a little put off during the chapter "The Sacred Matter" because I felt that some parts were almost too spiritual & that there was ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Sacred Balance is a stunning exploration of how our physical bodies are comprised of the four sacred elements -- Air,Fire, Water, and Earth. The author, David Suzuki, does draws from the many indigenous traditions around the world that have preserved the knowledge of the central role of these elements in maintaining the balance of life on this earth. Suzuki positions himself as a storyteller adding something to that world view. As a biogenetist, his contribution is to tell the story of the f ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Elsie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Our stories tell us where we come from and why we are here. In the beginning, these stories say, there was water, and then there was sky and fire, there was Earth, and there was life. We humans crawled out of the womb of the planet, or we were shaped out of clay and water, carved from twigs, compounded of seeds and ashes, or hatched from the cosmic egg. One way or another, we were from the sacred elements that together compose the Earth. We are made from the Earth, we breathe it in with every b ...more
Dave Angelini
Mar 04, 2008 Dave Angelini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: environmentalists, anti-environmentalists, and fence-sitters
This is a well-spoken call to environmental thinking. I argue with environnmental causes, but I usually skip books that scare people into the need for action, or preach to the choir. But I couldn't put this book down. It reiterated old truths in new ways and made fascinated arguments I had never heard. Suzuki has a poetic and impassioned voice, but stays plain-spoken. He even raises the issues of overpopulation, often ignored in discussions of global warming and other environmental problems. Imp ...more
A very well-thought-out book explaining man's place in nature. Modern humans have been around for only the very briefest of moments in the geologic or biologic history of the earth. Yet in that short time we have caused huge stresses to the natural world upon which we are all (all 7+ billion of us) completely and 100% dependent. We treat our air and our water as dumping grounds. We poison our soils in order to produce unsustainable amounts of food and minerals. And we are reducing the earth's bi ...more
Travis Hosgood
Feb 22, 2014 Travis Hosgood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very detailed perception of mans connections to earth, wind, fire, and water. Not only to the elements, but down to the smallest micro organisms. Suzuki explains detailed relationships of the collective noosphere. Speaks of some dogmas of science and technology and some possible solutions for future generations. Let us understand this message, tell a friend and work to copy nature instead of bludgeoning it into submission.
Andrew Lee
Apr 03, 2016 Andrew Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The content of The Sacred Balance is crucial for humans to understand and appreciate, and is told in a storytelling narrative emphasizing that everything is interconnected, humans are whole with our surroundings and our environment, and what we do to it, we do to ourselves.

However, I found his storytelling to be overly wordy, as if he was trying too hard to sound dramatic, his flow often erratic, and his content to be annoyingly repetitive. I guess that's unavoidable when you are talking about t
Daniela Serrano
Feb 02, 2014 Daniela Serrano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent and enlightening work about the general state of the planet, humanity as a species, where we belong on the planet and what it means to us in terms of sustaining us as a species for the long run. This book describes the importance of the things that we depend on for survival; water, air, soil etc. Everyone should read this book so that they can incorporate into their daily lives the changes that are necessary to save ourselves and the planet.
Sep 21, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ecospirituality
Well written; scientific information presented in a mystical/poetic style. In "The Sacred Balance," Suzuki invokes the classical elements of life: air, water, earth and fire, to explain Earth's ecological balance. He discusses the ways in which humankind, like all the inhabitants of our planet, is dependent on the building blocks of life and the environment around us. And, he asks each of us to remember how sacred our relationship with all life is. Can our "modern," consumer economies be sustain ...more
Rick Worthington
Aug 08, 2015 Rick Worthington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Great combination of science and spirituality. Very readable science. Really enjoyed reading the ancient wisdom sections.
Sarai Pannekoek
Jun 28, 2016 Sarai Pannekoek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most fascinating book I've read so far. "We can't be healthy without a healthy planet"
Dec 04, 2008 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the privilege of seeing David Suzuki present a live lecture a few weeks ago in my home town. I was amazed at the conviction, the energy, and the compassion that he conveyed. Refreshing to hear someone so powerful, so influential, and so important speak live about the pressing environmental issues of our time.

While reading this book I could feel his energy coming right off the pages. This is another book that highlights the need for change and paints the picture all too clear what will hap
Mike Velemirovich
TW Yeung
Apr 19, 2012 TW Yeung rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the book flows from the smallest matter of how we digest our food to the largest part of how our ecosystem work, giving a clear outline of the intricacies of how our Mother Earth "works". a deeper understanding of the Nature allows one to learn of our smallest action has always a consequence unimaginable. it nourishes our soul and re-affirms our faith in conserving and protecting the environment for a sustainable living future.
Mar 15, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suzuki argues that Environmentalism requires nature-spirituality, that a spiritual connection with nature is the reason and driving force behind Environmentalism. In beautiful descriptive language to follow, he lays out the scientific grounds for inter-connectedness. He understands the physical world well, but falls short when relating it to the metaphysical. The end of the book seemed a little shallow and preachy.
Rhonda Browning White
This text examins the relationship of living things--humans, animals, Earth and the cosmos--in an environmentally ethical way. It touches upon science and spiritualism. It's an interesting read, but I found it poorly written, which at times distracted me from the message.

If you're interested in the human relationship to the planet, you might find this book helpful , but there are better ecocritism books out there.

Aug 06, 2008 Deanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by a famous Canadian scientist/environmentalist/writer - David Suzuki. He talks about the delicate balance between the air, soil, and water on the Earth that provide all living things with what they need to survive. He emphasizes that there is a deep connection between everything on Earth and when we, as humans, turn our back on that connection we suffer greatly.
Jul 07, 2011 Steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The sloppy writing in this book reveals the sloppy thinking that accompanies it. I am embarrassed to admit that I helped fund this book. I agree with the message, but this terrible book does a disservice to the ideas that it presents. The writing itself is perhaps the worst I have ever seen published, even by a vanity press. There are many better books on this subject, don't read this one.
Feb 20, 2013 Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So amazing. This book will fire up the deep love for nature we have in all of us. Perfect explanation of how EVERYTHING is connected, and how we as a race have forgotten this. The chapters are wonderfully paced, the last chapter holding simple solutions we can all incorporate into our lives to aid in the re-balancing between us and this incredible planet. READ IT, YOU'LL LOVE IT!
Nov 26, 2008 Tawnya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in humanity's destruction of environment.

David Suzuki is a great writer. Rather than chastise society for destroying their very roots, he expresses understanding and empathy. Sukuki illustrates where we come from, our ties to nature and the destructive route we are headed down. If society doesn't wake up soon, what kind of world will we be leaving in the hands of our children? Grandchildren?

Good eye-opener.
Jul 15, 2015 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect marriage of science and spirituality.
Apr 21, 2011 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sad to admit I've been reading this book for years, and am interminably distracted away from it, but I love it's density and the way to illustrates how we are intricately connected and enmeshed in our world. This is the year though that I will find a way to read it cover to cover, and even from the first few chapters, I would recommend it.
This is an excellent David Suzuki book. Suzuki artfully portrays basic, but important and frequently overlooked biological realities in an attempt to illustrate mankind's firm link to the natural world. I'd classify it as a religious book for any environmental spiritualist. Reading this book reaffirms convictions of oneness with the universe.
Jan 20, 2012 Ozli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I need this in video or podcast format and then I'd love it - its like my brain can't hold written science anymore; I need to hear the interest in human voices. So I didn't retain a lot but that's prob just me.

Fire chapter was awesome. The formatting in my digital copy was exceedingly messed up but I endured.
Jul 29, 2011 Petar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book was written in the 90's, it is still very valid today. Interesting approach with the first four chapters broken up into air, water, earth and fire. Unfortunately, a decade later we still take this planet for as disconnected beings apart from the natural world that makes up our whole essence.
Richard Stuart
Jun 01, 2011 Richard Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing for it's ability to expand ones awareness of how we are all the same things existing together in an incredible kaleidoscope of variety, dependent on each other for mutual survival and never ending wonder. All life, including the planet itself, is an unbelievable miracle!
Aug 03, 2008 Audry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can get past the sometimes tedious scientific jargon this book is potentially life-changing. I learned so much when I had to read this for a class and it inspired me in so many ways. Its a very one-sided point of view, so just be prepared...but an excellent and informative book!
Louisa Ielo
Mar 21, 2012 Louisa Ielo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An immensely important read - I wish everyone could read this, and understand the importance of what we each do, every day, and how it impacts the world. We need to think larger than the small spaces we inhabit, and realize too that we are powerful enough to make changes for the better.
Jun 15, 2008 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can honestly say that this book shifted my perspective on the world and contributed toward my career in environmentalism. Suzuki's ability to seamlessly integrate Eastern and Western knowledge to convey the concept of interconnectedness is breathtakingly beautiful.

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David Suzuki is a Canadian science broadcaster and environmental activist. A long time activist to reverse global climate change, Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, to work "to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us." The Foundation's priorities are: oceans and sustainable fishing, climate change and clean energy, sustainability, and Da ...more
More about David Suzuki...

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“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life's breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.” 22 likes
“Eco” comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning home. Ecology is the study of home, while economics is the management of home. Ecologists attempt to define the conditions and principles that govern life’s ability to flourish through time and change. Societies and our constructs, like economics, must adapt to those fundamentals defined by ecology. The challenge today is to put the “eco” back into economics and every aspect of our lives.” 7 likes
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